Photo Friday, No. 492

Current Photo Friday theme: Pink

Sometime this weekend I will turn 135 or some other random age that doesn’t matter. I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks, so you can’t imagine how much the cards and letters I’ve been getting cheer me. Special shoutout to Mark in England and Marika Girl of the Ozarks for the attention. Since it’s Easter weekend, a lot of friends are traveling, so birthday festivities will happen later–maybe I’ll be all well by then! This gorgeous bouquet arrived today from Tom’s parents, who always make me feel special on my birthday. Thank you!

Merry Christmas!

However you celebrate, whatever you celebrate, even if you don’t celebrate, I celebrate you. I know that not everyone is happy at this time of year. We’re stressed, we’re facing challenges, we miss people who are far away or who we’ve lost. I’m glad you’re here, and I wish all good things for you. You may not know it, but every day there’s someone whose life you affect in a good way.

Above is LAST YEAR’s photo, our last Christmas at The Compound. Behind us is a mural on the wooden garage doors that Lindsey generously painted using Where the Wild Things Are as her inspiration. I worried the new owner might replace the doors or paint over it, but he considers it part of the charm of the property.

I usually don’t post our holiday photo until it’s been sent to our friends and family in our Christmas cards. I was still mailing our 2014 cards at EASTER–in fact, I never finished mailing them!–so I never published the photo.

This year, I’ve barely begun mailing cards, but I’ve learned from my mistake. You can see below how our family has grown at Houndstooth Hall, with Debby, Harley, and Stewie in Fairy Cottage. Tim lives in Fox Den with Pixie, Penny, and Pollock. Though Margot is no longer with us, Tom and I made sure she was with her sisters Guinness and Anime for one more family photo (thank you, Lynne!). And thank you all for continuing to read my scant entries here or on Facebook. I look forward to the good things the new year will bring for us all!

Button Sunday

I know this button is about Hobbits, but it reminds me of a video I saw yesterday. When asked, more than 80 percent of children said if they had a choice between getting a present they really wanted, or giving a present to a child who might not get anything for Christmas, they’d rather give a gift.

Speaking of gifts, Lila is enjoying writing letters these days, and she recently made a card for me. She likes helping her mom and grandmother find ugly pig ornaments for me–in fact, they saw one while shopping and asked Lila if they should buy it, and she said, “No. Not ugly enough.” So her card celebrates my pig collection.

I was mystified by “Hg,” and no one else could tell me what it meant. When Lila came back through the room, she said, “That’s the sound a pig makes.” She’s absolutely right. A pig does say, “Hg.”

Also, her style reminds me of artist Cy Twombly.

Photo Friday, No. 468

Current Photo Friday theme: My Favorite Location

Crappy cell phone photo shot from inside the car for the win!

This time last year, Tom and I had signed the contract that meant we no longer owned The Compound. It was a leap of faith, because we hadn’t found our next home, and our needs were specific. I knew we wouldn’t be homeless; once the sale went through, our buyer would rent to us, but it wasn’t our home anymore.

Around the third week of October, our realtor (George, we love him!) called and wanted us to look at a house. It was an easy commute to Tom’s work, not too far from RPM’s clinic which was great for Tim and me, the yard was good for dogs, and it had an additional building behind it. I think we were supposed to view it on a Saturday, I can’t remember, but since I was in the area for transport day on Thursday, I decided to get an advance look at the house.

I remember sitting in my car and shooting this photo with my phone. The neighborhood felt good. The street was nice. And I thought the house was adorable. There were still a lot of unknowns, but somehow just seeing it made me feel better. After all, even it didn’t turn out to be The One, it gave me hope that there could be others like it.

All three of us went to that first appointment. I was still charmed by the outside of the house, and once we were inside, there was so much I liked and so little that I knew I’d want to change. While George talked to the seller, I whispered to Tom and Tim, “There’s nothing about the inside of the house that I don’t like. But whether it could be ours depends on the size and layout of the apartment.”

Now it’s two apartments: the Fox Den and the Fairy Cottage, and two of the people and some of the dogs I love most in the world live there. We’ve made the changes we wanted to the house, and I appreciate the layout and space more all the time. I know our future here will offer more happy times with family, friends, and dogs.

When it comes to my favorite location, there’s no place like home.

Little Raina

What with renovations at Houndstooth Hall and friends’ dogs who’ve needed to vacation here while their families were out of town, it’s been a while since we were able to take a foster for RPM. But the time came, and that’s how we fell for the “little” of the pack.

Weighing between six and seven pounds, they say Raina is a dachshund chihuahua mix. She’s a silly, brave, funny, extremely affectionate girl who’s going to make some family in Colorado so happy.

When Debby arrived at Houndstooth Hall to move into the Fairy Cottage, she brought several comforters that she was going to donate. As it happens, RPM recently sent out a call for towels and blankets to use for bedding at the clinic and on transports, so I snagged a few of the comforters to cut into crate-sized pieces. I thought Raina could help me show them, and like a good model, she doesn’t hide the product.

Margot’s having a little trouble on the floors because of her arthritis, so I sewed a couple of larger pieces to throw on the living room floor as good napping spots but also to help her get traction when she wants to hang out in that room.

Raina then forgot all her modeling skills and used one of them as a pee pad. She’s six months old and in a new place–she has to learn. Into the washing machine it went, and the rest of the smaller ones went to the clinic today. (Margot had to get in on the modeling action, too.)

Thanks, Debby!

Photo Friday, No. 467

Current Photo Friday theme: Family

Rescued Pets Movement is coming up on 10,000 dogs and cats rescued from the streets and pulled from kill shelters to travel to adoptive homes in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. TEN THOUSAND. I’ve photographed almost every one of them, but this little family who I met when only a few more than a hundred had been transported has never left my mind or my heart.

If you saw Adora, a staffie mix, on the street, you might have crossed to the other side. She’d lived a tough life as a homeless survivor. Her patchy hair and a few scars made her look a little scary. But when I greeted her and her three newborns, I discovered that she was the sweetest girl and proudest mama ever. She seemed to understand the busy scene around her on transport day was good news for her family.

As it turned out, Adora had a serious illness, and I believe she stayed strong as long as she did to make sure her babies were safe. Once they were all living in a caring home in Colorado, she was able to let go peacefully, knowing her three little ones would never know the hardships she’d endured.

If I photograph ten thousand more dogs and cats for RPM, I will wish for each of them families like Adora’s, who’ll provide them long lives filled with love, and gentle goodbyes graced by dignity and compassion.